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Leonard Cohen Live At The IMMA, Dublin
73-year-old maestro creates magic at Kilmainham
Stuart Clark, 19 Jun 2008
Leonard Cohen’s financial loss is our gain, as the 73-year-old rolls into town as part of a tour he’s been forced to undertake after being relieved of his $5 million retirement fund by a rogue former employee.
If Len would rather be at home tending his herbaceous border, it doesn’t show as he launches into a Springsteen-esque three-hour set with a version of ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’ that has 8,000 jaws dropping in unison.
Attired in the sharpest of charcoal grey suits and matching fedora, he’s still every inch the ladies’ man, and a silver-tongued devil too as he tells us “what a great honour it is, ladies and gentlemen, to play for you in this city of poets and singers.”
Every bit as immaculate as his clothes are Cohen’s ten-piece band whose ranks include long-time musical director Roscoe Beck, Spanish guitar ace Javier Mas and new recruits Charlie and Hattie Webb who, together with Len’s songwriting partner Sharon Robinson, provide the female counterbalance to that deliciously weatherbeaten baritone of his.
There are few surprises, just perfectly excecuted renditions of songs like ‘The Future’, ‘Bird On A Wire’, ‘Everybody Knows’, ‘In My Secret Life’, ‘Tower Of Song’ and – swoon – ‘Thousand Kisses Deep’, which may be from different phases of his career, but blend together seamlessly.
The night’s defining moment comes halfway through, when following a pared down ‘The Gypsy’s Wife’ and playful ‘Boogie Street’, Cohen closes his eyes and, cantor like, intones the opening “Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord/That David played, and it pleased the Lord” verse from ‘Hallelujah’.
The screams in Dublin 8 are orgasmic, while up in heaven you just know that Jeff Buckley’s got a shit-eating grin on his face.
Sorry Bruce, but there goes your ‘Gig of the Year’ award!